[October 12, 1999] CommerceNet announced the release of the eCo Interoperability Framework Specification, "which builds a bridge between disparate, proprietary electronic commerce solutions. The eCo Interoperability Specification has been produced as part of the CommerceNet eCo Framework Initiative. The eCo Interoperability Framework provides a single common protocol through which eCommerce systems can describe themselves, their services and their interoperability requirements. The eCo Framework Working Group, which developed the specification, includes key industry players such as 3Com, American Express, American Power Conversion, ASC/X12, Berkeley National Lab, Cisco Systems, Commerce One, Compaq, CSC, GEIS, Harbinger, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Intuit, ISO, Microsoft, Mondex International, NEC, Netscape, Novell, NTT, Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Microsystems and UWI.com, as well as experts in XML, OBI, OFX, OTP, XML/EDI, RosettaNet and CBL."
"eCo is the result of intense collaboration by all parties involved in eCommerce, including leading banks, vendors, service providers and major end users. The eCo Interoperability Framework consists of two components: (1) The eCo Architecture defines the way businesses describe themselves and their commerce services, as well as the markets or trading communities to which they belong. The specification offers ascending levels of compliance, with an easily implementable first level that lets organizations achieve interoperability with other eCommerce systems in less than a hour. (2) The eCo Semantic Recommendations describe best practices for developing XML based e-commerce documents. The recommendations also define a set of XML building blocks and document definitions that will let future XML specifications to interoperate easily with existing ones. It includes a 'starter set' of example business documents, such as purchase orders and invoices. The library of building blocks includes XML encodings for ISO and related standards for currency, time/date, country codes, measurement, address and other reusable components." The purpose and scope of the eCo Specification are described in these terms: "...an architectural framework that enables businesses to discover each other on the World Wide Web and determine how they can do business. The eCo Specification was created as a response by industry and the United States government to the difficulties encountered when trying to 'handshake' the systems of one business with another due to the proliferation of e-commerce standards. The eCo Specification does not attempt to replace these standards. It provides a means for businesses to identify each other, discover each others' product and service offerings, and quickly access a description of the e-commerce standards and trading practices each potential partner has adopted. In this sense the eCo Specification can be considered a 'document services architecture.' CommerceNet is "the largest grouping of electronic commerce influencers in the world, working to make eCommerce easy, trusted and ubiquitous. Launched in April 1994 in Silicon Valley, its membership has grown to more than 500 eCommerce developers and end-users worldwide from hardware and software companies, financial institutions, telcos, government agencies, integrators, service providers, net market makers and others."
[October 12, 1999] "Ontology.Org lends support to CommerceNet eCo Framework Specification. Worldwide Industry Leaders Collaborate to Develop 'Plug and Play' Architecture and Building Blocks for eCommerce Applications." - "Ontology.Org today announced its support for the launch by CommerceNet of the CommerceNet eCo Interoperability Specifications. Kevin Poulter, Chief Technology Officer for Ontology.Org and member of the eCo Working Group, said 'The completion of the eCo Specifications Phase 1 will help to provide the impetus to move to the next generation of interoperable commerce. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to work with organisations who wish to build on eCo and establish network-based eCo compliant e-services.' Howard Smith, Director of Ontology.Org and member of the eCo Working Group representing Computer Sciences Corporation, stated 'eCo marks a significant first step in Ontology.Org's vision of truly interoperable Internet Commerce. Enterprises are either experimenting with or deploying a variety of B2B commerce solutions. It is often the case that within an iMarket or extended enterprise, the different trading participants will deploy different solutions based on feature sets that match their particular requirements. Integrating these systems is a formidable task. eCo is an important step forward towards the goal of spontaneous Internet commerce. Ontology.Org will continue to work with CommerceNet in support of this agenda objective and will leverage eCo in future programmes'."